New York Jets: Roadmap To A Ring, Mock Draft with Trades

The New York Jets attacked free agency in a unique manner that I didn’t expect. Rather than spend on Conklin or any other premier guys, they signed their guys to short term prove it deals. In our final edition of Roadmap To A Ring, this is the draft, who do the Jets take with all their picks, including a major trade to add more depth. This draft is not what Joe Douglas will do, it’s what I would do in his spot.

Jets TRADE Pick #11 to Buccaneers for Pick #14 & Pick #76 and select Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia

A whole lot to unload here, the Jets trade down with two of the top offensive tackles on the board. The Buccaneers then take Wills, with the Raiders and 49ers both taking receivers, Thomas is still on the board at 14. The Jets then get their future tackle and an extra pick. This would be a dream scenario for the Jets.

Pick #48 Zack Baun EDGE, Wisconsin

Baun is a high IQ pass rusher. Excellent leader and a great playmaker on defense. I liked him from the first time I saw him play. He’s shot up draft boards and he has become a great steal at this spot. Baun is immediately going to bolster the pass rush and is a GREAT value pick at 48.

Pick #68 Laviska Shenault Jr WR, Colorado

Shenault has a sketchy injury history. This raises some injury question marks. I don’t see many other obvious flaws than that. With that said, Laviska is going to fall. Maybe not to this spot, but hopefully he’s available for the Jets at some point. Shenault is dynamic, quick and an absolute game-breaker with the ball in his hands. At one time he was a top 3 WR in this class. As other guys rose, he fell. Now Laviska would be an excellent selection here.

Pick #76 from TB Cameron Dantzler CB, Mississippi State

Dantzler is an aggressive press corner. He’s efficient and could develop into a solid outside corner. He’s a “dawg” and would fit well in Gregg Williams’s defense. He’s a sneaky solid pickup with a few concerns about penalties.

Pick #79 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR, Michigan

Joe Douglas is dedicated to adding playmakers, boy oh boy would this be a pickup. Jones is an electric receiver. He’s a force in the return game. He’s also a deep threat. He and Shenault would be a dynamic combo and accomplish Douglas’s goal for adding playmakers.

Pick #120 Tyler Biadasz IOL, Wisconsin

Tyler Biadasz has had his stock drop for some reason. He’s likely to be a day 2 pick, or early day 3. He’s a great center and could be a great pick for the Jets to play guard and develop alongside McGovern and potentially take Van Roten’s spot at some point. If Biadasz isn’t the guy, look for Matt Hennessy in the 3rd round.

Pick #158 Geno Stone S, Iowa

Stone is a solid safety. A good option to be a backup for the future. Where he excels is special teams. Stone would fit the Rontez Miles role and has the potential to be better than him already in year one. Stone also has great tackling ability and is a good depth piece overall.

Pick #191 Rodrigo Blankenship K

The Kicker position would finally have its answer. “Hot Rod” Rodrigo Blankenship, is the top kicker in the draft. He’s been the top kicker in college football. He’d immediately take over the Jets kicking role. Those missed kicks wouldn’t be an issue with Hot Rod. There’s potential that the Jets can draft their franchise kicker here.

This draft would be a very very good one. Stone is depth. Biadasz is a future IOL piece. Blankenship is the kicker of the future. Jones and Shenault are excellent playmakers. Dantzler is an immediate depth player with high potential at corner. Thomas is the left tackle of the future. All great assets, all would make for a great draft class. 

Three Positions the New York Jets Could Target In 1st Round

The New York Jets have the 11th pick in the draft. It’s a solid spot to grab a blue-chip prospect. There are three spots the Jets desperately need to improve in the draft. With the opportunity to grab a cornerstone piece at 11, the Jets will target one of these three spots.

Left Tackle

The premier offensive line prospects are a great group. Tristan Wirfs is a spectacular athlete. He’s a great offensive lineman and very agile. Mekhi Becton is a FREAK athlete and very agile as well. Andrew Thomas has the highest ceiling and could be the best of the group. Jedrick Wills is an elite pass protector with incredible potential but would have to transition to left tackle. As long as one of the top 4 guys are there, Joe Douglas seems inclined to add an offensive lineman. There have been rumblings about another position, but, with two weeks to go, I’d say this pick will be a big man. If the Jets trade back, look to Josh Jones of Houston and Austin Jackson of USC to be targeted.

Wide Receiver

The receiver class is more loaded than any in recent memory. There are three key guys who could be targeted at 11 if the Jets target receiver. Henry Ruggs is the dynamic speed demon who lit up the combine. Jerry Jeudy is your prototypical receiver 1 and a crisp route runner. CeeDee Lamb is a little bit of both. Lamb has been the most connected to the Jets and wouldn’t be a surprise per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. Lamb and Jeudy are both can’t miss talents. Lamb can be the Hopkins to Darnold’s Watson and potentially be his key playmaker. With that said, I’d love a receiver here, but with the depth in this class at the position, Darnold could use someone at 11 who can protect Sam and give him time to throw. If the Jets trade back, the Jets could grab Justin Jefferson or Jalen Reagor, two-speed demons who could fit well in the Jets offense.

Edge Rusher

This came down to two spots for me. Edge rusher or corner. Pierre Desir and Bless Austin have a lot of potential as a corner duo for next season. I am a big Desir guy, I think he’s incredibly underrated. If they can add another corner in the later rounds then they’d be in a decent spot for the time being at corner. Edge rusher is rough. Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham are the projected duo heading into next season. Jenkins and Basham are not the long term duo. Jenkins is on a prove-it deal and Basham isn’t proven. The Jets could use their next star edge rusher. Chase Young will be gone at 11, but K’Lavon Chaisson is a phenomenal talent. He’s dynamic and quick, but with so many other needs, he may not be worth the pick this high or at all with the other needs. If the Jets trade down, AJ Epsensa, Zack Baun and Yetur Gross Matos would all be great targets at the edge spot.

New York Giants could land second-round linebacker to pair with Ryan Connelly

New York Giants, Zack Baun, Ryan Connelly

One position the New York Giants desperately need to address this off-season is linebacker. Last year, they featured Alec Ogletree and Ryan Connelly to start the season, but Connelly quickly went down with a torn ACL against the Washington Redskins, prematurely ending his season and an impressive development up to that point.

With several premium options in free agency and the NFL draft, the Giants have the resources to bolster the position exponentially, finally plugging in a player to cover tight ends and stop the run. Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson has been the frequent flyer for the Giants regarding projection in the draft, but one other option has me intrigued, and he is also from Wisconsin, just like Connelly.

Linebacker Zack Baun, who is a projected second-round pick in the upcoming draft, has elite instinctual attributes but is also a solid pass rusher. Logging 12.5 sacks as a senior for Wisconsin, he can attack quarterbacks as an edge rusher, but he truly stands out in the middle of the field. During Senior Bowl practices, Baun played weakside linebacker, and he also tallied 19 tackles for loss in 2019, earning the playmaker accolade for Wisconsin.

The most exciting thing about Baun is that he made the transition from quarterback to linebacker coming out of high school.

Already having Connolly with the New York Giants makes his potential light landing spot a lot more attractive.

“Yeah, that would be awesome,’’ Zack Baun said Tuesday before the first Senior Bowl practice of the week. “I think if I go to a team with any other Wisconsin linebacker, it’s automatically going to help me pick up the defense. We have a strong bond, connection, being from essentially the same bloodline.’’

Baun expressed his confidence in Wisconsin for producing quality linebackers:

“I think every linebacker that started at Wisconsin since I’ve been there is in the league and doing very well,’’ Baun said. “I think we’re the new Linebacker U.’’

If the Giants decide they don’t want to allocate too much capital in a linebacker in free agency, or find better value with the 4th overall pick and pass on Simmons, Baun is an exciting prospect with tons of potential.

New York Giants: Defensive Players to Watch at the Combine

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

It is no secret to anyone reading this, but the New York Giants are in serious need of defensive talent.  At the time of this article, the Giants have just $23.2 million of their 2020 cap space allocated to the defensive side of the football.  For comparison, that is less than what both Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald will count towards the Bears and Rams respectively.  The next closest figure is that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is $42.9 million.

It is without question that the New York Giants will target the defense in both Free Agency and April’s draft.  Everyone knows the big name prospects that the Giants may or may not be able to get in the first round.  Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons, Derrick Brown and Jeffrey Okudah are all well known and potential targets for Big Blue in the early stages.  Yet, with currently 10 picks throughout the entire draft, including compensatory picks, the Giants need to be able to target defenders at every stage.

Who are some other prospects the Giants could target in days 2 and 3?

EDGE Zack Baun – Wisconsin

Zack Baun has been a named mocked to the Giants in the 2nd round by numerous sources.  However, he doesn’t have a flashy name like Young, K’Lavon Chaisson or A.J. Epenesa.  For Giants fans well in tune with Joe Judge’s plan of versatility, maybe you should get accustomed to it.  Baun is a defensive playmaker that will be best suited in a versatile role.  His quickness and burst are what will make him stand out in pressure generation.  He can quickly fill gaps in the run game, as well.  If Zack Baun is indeed a selection for the Giants, look for him to play all over the field for the defense.

CB Damon Arnette – Ohio State

I will not be surprised to see Ohio State’s Damon Arnette sneak into the first round after a good showing in Indianapolis.  His skills in press coverage would be well suited for every team in the NFL.  Arnette does not have the elite speed most teams may covet in a corner, so safety help is a must.  Where he does excel, are his ball skills and short-area abilities.

EDGE Joshua Uche – Michigan

No, this isn’t an article of Big Ten athletes.  Joshua Uche is just good.  In his interview this week, Jedrick Wills picked Uche when asked who his toughest matchup was in college.  That is saying a lot coming from an Alabama prospect.  Uche is not the most filled out athlete, but his quickness and bend is top-notch.  He has the frame to add more mass, which could really propel him into the top echelon of NFL pass rushers.

S Kyle Dugger – Lenoir-Rhyne

The South Atlantic Conference in NCAA’s Division II is about as far away from the Big Ten as one could get.  Kyle Dugger, however, will be competing with top tier talent on Sunday’s.  Dugger is another versatile defensive weapon.  One could call him a poor man’s Isaiah Simmons.  However, if he gets called to play for the New York Giants, they’d very likely hit it rich.  Dugger may find the best success transitioning to LB.  In fact, he was asked to take part in LB drills at the NFL Combine.  He may not have the same skill set as Simmons, but he comes with similar versatility.

LB Akeem Davis-Gaithers – Appalachian State

Another prospect from a “smaller” program, Akeem Davis-Gaithers has the talent that the Giants are looking for.  He’s a linebacker that comes with a very good range.  In college, he occasionally was asked to cover wide receivers, but absolutely has the athleticism to cover running backs and tight ends in pass defense.  Similar to Uche, he could afford to put on some extra pounds.  With his hard-hitting mindset, it would be extremely beneficial for him to do so at the next level.

S Shyheim Carter – Alabama

The Giants have had success with Alabama safeties and Shyheim Carter could be the next.  Like Landon Collins, Carter does his best work near the line of scrimmage.  Another versatile, hybrid player, the New York Giants could very well benefit from his services.  Also like Collins, however, he is not someone you’d trust covering a running back or tight end in coverage.

LB Cameron Brown – Penn State

A late-round prospect, Cam Brown is the type of linebacker the Giants have needed.  He has incredible range and athleticism.  Often being bumped out to cover wide receivers in the slot and tight ends.  The Nittany Lions used him quite often in pass defense of the flat zones.  He’s got the range to play WILL but will need to bulk up and clean up his tackle finishing for the NFL.

 

New York Jets Mock Draft 1.0 Rounds 1-3

The Jets officially locked down their position for the 2020 draft. They could have a compensatory pick added if the Giants bring back Leonard Williams but for the time being, this is where they’ll pick. Using The Draft Network Mock Draft Simulator and taking the best players at each position based on needs, potential, and more here is an early projection of what the Jets draft could look like.

Round 1 Pick 11: CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma

Robby Anderson seems inclined to look for the best possible destination to play both competitive football and get paid around $10 million a year. It remains to be seen whether or not the Jets will bring him back next year. With or without him on the roster, CeeDee Lamb would be an excellent addition. In this scenario, all three premier offensive line prospects were off the board. Lamb was the most talented player available and he projects to be a Deandre Hopkins Esque wideout at the next level. His route running could be improved but he’s a dynamic number one receiver type who can stretch the field and provide significant YAC potential with every catch. Adding Lamb would be an excellent weapon in Darnold’s arsenal for the future.

Round 2 Pick 48: Mekhi Becton OT Louisville

Adding Becton, especially in the second round would be a STEAL. Becton is a 6’7 369-pound beast who could immediately provide an upgrade at left tackle. Becton has the potential to be a Star left tackle who can produce in a big way at the next level. His size makes him an excellent pass protector and his mauling style of blocking makes him a beast in the run game. Adding Becton would be the type of move that would immediately gain Joe Douglas a lot of fans.

Round 3 Pick 68: Zack Baun EDGE Wisconsin

Zack Baun can be the type of piece that Gregg Williams would have a lot of fun with. He plays with a lot of heart and has a very high football IQ. He’s a smart pass rusher and a damn good one. He had 12.5 sacks last year for Wisconsin and deserves significant Draft attention. Baun is not a perfect player but he’s the kind of player with the potential to be a captain of the defense in the future and play a TJ Watt style role in the defense. Baun would be a great pick for the Jets at 68 and would immediately slot in as a rotational pass rusher.

Round 3 Pick 78: Najee Harris RB Alabama

If Lev Bell is still in the picture come April the Jets may be reluctant to take a half back. However, I don’t foresee Bell being a Jet come April. Najee Harris is the next good running back churned out of a school that’s produced so many talented backs over the past few years. He’s never been a lead back and if Bell is still around he would be a good complementary back. If he is the lead back then he will need to grow into the role over time and develop as a pass-catcher. Overall though he’s a talented running back with good size. He reminds me of Matt Forte and if he can be any bit as good as him then the Jets will have found themselves a nice weapon for Sam Darnold.

Summary of Rounds 1-3

The key point of the first three rounds was getting protection and weaponry for Darnold that will grow with him as well as adding an edge rusher with a lot of potential at the next level.